Opening their 25th Anniversary Season, the Artistic Core of Jobsite brings this brilliant Tom Stoppard Comedy to life through October 8th, 2023.

By: Sep. 18, 2023

“The only beginning is birth... and the only ending is death...”

“Life is a gamble at terrible odds...”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, an absurdist, existential tragic-comedy written by British Playwright Tom Stoppard opened Friday evening amidst a room full of eager audience members and hearty laughter. Bringing a cast so deserving of the praise to the top of their game, showcasing their hard work on a not-so-easy show.

The play itself focuses its centralized storyline around the misadventures of two minor- characters from Shakespeare’s tragic masterpiece Hamlet. What is known to be a sequence of events that happen in-between the original scenes or “in the wings,” “backstage,” of Shakespeare’s famed tragedy. Throughout the events of Stoppard’s telling, our duo receives visits from major characters in Hamlet, as they re-enact major scenes of the show. Between the visits/episodes, both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern make comments about the sequence of events happening around them as if they are not a part of them, while none know the wiser.

The title of Stoppard’s play is pulled directly from the final scene in Hamlet in which the titular character is exiled to England when Claudius assumes the throne. En route to England, Prince Hamlet discovers a letter from Claudius that is being delivered by none other than Hamlet’s now untrusted friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  Hamlet discovers in the letter that Claudius has commanded Hamlet be put to death upon his arrival in England. Hamlet then takes it upon himself to rewrite the letter and in-turn note that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern be put to death, and then he flees back to Denmark.

For all those familiar with Hamlet, at the end of the play, Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia, Polonius, King Claudius, and Queen Gertrude are all dead. Wherein Act V Scene II, an Ambassador arrives from England and reports,

The sight is dismal, And our affairs from England come too late. The ears are senseless that should give us hearing, To tell him his commandment is fulfilled, That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead...”

The Artistic Core of Jobsite Theater is made up of some of the finest performers in the Bay area, and nothing rings more true than the cast of last seasons stunning production of Hamlet, most of whom can be seen onstage in the current production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Lead forth by Artistic Director David M. Jenkins the cast featuring Giles Davies (Hamlet/ Tragedian), Roxanne Fay (Gertrude/Alfred), Katrina Stevenson (Ophelia/Horatio/ Tragedian), Hugh Timoney (Polonius/Tragedian), Ned Averill-Snell (Claudius/ Tragedian), and lead by the dynamic duo of Katherine Yacko and Nicole Jeannine Smith as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern respectively.

Outside of its original core cast, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead introduces a Leading Player to its cast of Players, portrayed with the upmost finesse by Jack Holloway.Last seen in the Jobsite arena way back in 2014 as part of Zach Braff’s All New People.

From right out of the gate the audience is introduced to the undeniable chemistry between Nicole Jeannine Smith and Katherine Yacko. As Rosencrantz (Katherine Yacko) and Guildenstern (Nicole Jeannine Smith) respectively, achieve the mischievous nature of our duo with the upmost candor. Having last witnessed their chemistry onstage during last seasons stunning turn in Hamlet, this duo takes the reigns of an unforgettable pair (normally seen played by men,) and shatter all glass ceilings in their wake. A truly exceptional performance from start to finish by both Smith and Yacko that will live rent free in my mind for time to come. For no better a pair than these two fantastic performers in roles that will be talked about for some time. If you see one performances in the next month, it should definitely be the one portrayed by our Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

As mentioned above the Leading Player portrayed by Jack Holloway is a wonderful juxtaposition to the world of the show. His comedic timing is paired with his dynamic stage presence to make a welcomed arrival back into the Jobsite arena a memorable one, and a perfect fit to the band of players in Stoppard’s masterpiece.

Giles Davies as Hamlet/Tragedian is everyone’s favorite Prince and Exile. Giles has a way about his delivery that is truly magical to watch, commanding the room at every turn. Whether it be the way he wears his hair, or his movements that are so perfectly manifested in time and nuance that you feel his motivation in every second, Giles is undeniable here. If you enjoyed last seasons epic performance as the Prince of Denmark, then you should move mountains to see him as Hamlet once more. Solidifying his place as one of the great Shakespeare performers in our region, and one I will stop everything to see again and again.

Roxanne Fay, a staple in the Tampa Bay theatre scene and no stranger to the Jobsite arena returns to the stage as Gertrude/Alfred. Once again she proves why she is one of the most sought after Shakespeare artists in the area. Always present on stage and in the moment from start to finish, she truly commands any room she enters.

Katrina Stevenson wears multiple hats in the production both on and off stage. While onstage she portrays Ophelia/Horatio/Tragedian, and behind the scenes doubles as the Costume Designer for the production. She is wonderful in her portrayal here, and always welcomed company and a stunning performer in every production.

Hugh Timoney returns as Polonius/Tragedian. Having last seen him perform last season in Hamlet, his role as Polonius is a happy return to the Jobsite stage. Always a great addition any production, and one of the best Polonius I have seen in recent years.

Ned Averill-Snell as Claudius is a show-stopper. Another performer in which I would move mountains to experience their incredible presence onstage. His Claudius is no exception. Always grounded in every moment to moment, his Claudius is exacting, and methodical, and truly a stunning performance to experience.

From a technical side, Jobsite always proves to be a cut above the rest. With exceptional Set Design by Brian Smallheer, coupled with the beautiful Lighting Design by Jo Averill- Snell helping to set the scene and bring the characters world to the forefront of our own worldview. Katrina Stevenson’s Costume Design brings each characters’ personality to life to help propel their own arcs in the story. With Sound Design by Jeremy Douglass the world of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern comes to life in a way uniquely Jobsite.

David M. Jenkins has done it again, by producing yet another run away hit. Always on the cutting edge of live theater, Jobsite proves yet again why people come out in droves to follow their performances season after season. The old adage , “If you build it they will come...” forever rings true here, for David M. Jenkins and the Artistic Core of Jobsite Theater create something unique and magical with every production.

Jobsite opens their 25th Anniversary Season with a show-stopping bang! Producing, “the world’s funniest play about the greatest play ever written...” is no small- feat and Jobsite pulls out all the stops here and you would be remiss if you let this moment to laugh out loud in public pass you by. Tickets can be purchased by visiting Click Here, or by calling the box office. Happy 25th Anniversary to our friends at Jobsite, and may you continue long into the future, as I for one will be first in line to see what you do next.

“A new that as far as you’re willing to go?”

Photo Credit: James Zambon Photography

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